Mood music for this post:
I am exactly the right mom for my kids, I am exactly the right mom for my kids, I am exactly the right mom for my kids. I’m telling myself that over and over right now because Mister Cameron, who just turned four, had a screaming fit in the locker room of our gym yesterday after swimming because I wouldn’t get him dressed. He had a screaming and crying fit IN! PUBLIC! because I was busy so scrambling to dress myself that I couldn’t do something for him that a couple of months ago he would get furious with me for even attempting to help him with. And what’s even harder for me is that I couldn’t reach him once he got himself going. Nothing I tried worked until I had to give in and dress him myself and then walk him out of the locker room screaming. The older woman walking out ahead of us was so startled by him that she gasped and took the good Lord’s name in vain while looking daggers over her shoulder. In her defense, I don’t think she realized that this was a child whose poor mother was doing the best she could, I think she heard a yell and assumed he was unsupervised- because it’s only logical that a supervised child would not scream like that. Of course, one could argue that he WAS unsupervised because there certainly was nobody present whose authority and direction he was responding to.
Before I had kids, I was a teacher for ten years and behavior management and reaching difficult kids was absolutely my jam. I thought FOR SURE that when I had children of my own that I would be able to find ways to reach them like I had with my students. I didn’t expect that they would never tantrum or melt down or rebel, but I did expect that in those moments they would respond to me. I learned almost immediately that that is most certainly NOT how it was going to go down with this boy child of mine. Even as a newborn, he presented challenges to our breastfeeding relationship (he wouldn’t open his mouth wide to latch on) that it took even our experienced lactation consultant six weeks to help me figure out. A few months later, he had a FOUR MONTH LONG sleep regression and defied every method of sleep training we threw at him. And don’t even get me started on trying get him on a nap schedule, the little stinker would vary the length of his naps so no matter how consistent I tried to be, the curve balls he threw upset the apple cart daily. As a toddler and preschooler, the stubborn tenacity with which he holds on to his pet vices, even in the face of frequent redirection and consistently-enforced consequences, is infuriatingly impressive. I have to tip my hat to the kid, I have never confronted the equal of his strength of conviction, not even in his father. 😉
As you can imagine, the level of self-doubt that this triggers in the already vulnerable heart of a first-time mom is considerable- particularly in one who has experience in reaching kids and believed kids to be inherently reachable- as long as the adults have their act together. In my hardest moments, I have been haunted and taunted by the nagging feeling that another mom could have gotten him to latch right, someone more organized and tenacious could have gotten him to sleep, or that he would have settled down in that locker room for someone he likes better or loves more.
It’s a darned good thing that I know my Heavenly Father because He is the only assurance I can take seriously when it comes to my ability to properly mother these babes. In my better moments, I push aside the panic and the fury (oh, the FURY! The kid makes me so mad, too, because my pride and my authority are on the line) and cry out to God for guidance and my Heavenly Father gives me a talking to of my own- am I SERIOUSLY questioning whether or not HE gave this kid the right mom? Child, puh-LEEZE! Both my relationship with Him and His Holy Word are filled with promises that He does not mess around with anything, least of all how He created us.
Psalm 139:13-16 hits me right in the feels in those moments when I’m doubting whether or not I’m the right woman for the job when it comes to my kids:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
When I think of the “I” and the “me” and the “my” in that verse as meaning each one of my babies, that is as true for the two of them as it is for me, I am reassured that God fearfully and wonderfully knit them together and has written their days in His book- and that includes me. When He made those babies, He gave them me on purpose because for whatever reason, how He made me is exactly what He had in mind for how He made them.
That right there is at the same time the most comforting and the most convicting revelation I can ever remember having. Because nobody knows how imperfect I am better than I do- well, except maybe God but His infinite grace for me is bigger than my struggles and so far, my grace for myself is not that large. If I truly accept that God believes that I am these babies best option, then I need to rise to the challenge and I know to the depths of my being that I can only do that through the God who made me just as He made my babies.
So maybe God gave Mister Cameron to me because He knew that He could count on me to fight for our breastfeeding relationship when Cam struggled. He knew that I had Jeff in my corner to help me through the sleep regression and what a beautiful, closely knit father-son relationship those two would develop through those late night moments when Cam and Mommy had had enough of one another and only Daddy would do. And He must know that I’ve got something that He put in me that makes me uniquely equipped for what this kid is throwing at me right now, although bless my precious heart I have no clue what it is. But I do know that is FROM God and OF God and it is only THROUGH God, through total dependence on Him, that I’m going to be able to be what this child needs right now.
So will you pray for me in this season? Pray that God will be ever-present, turning my mind to Him in those rough moments. That my ears and heart will be open to His leading on what this little stinker- I mean PRECIOUS LITTLE CHILD OF GOD needs from his parents right now. And let’s also lift our hands in praise that we have a God who loves us so much and whose perfect plan for us always calls us to dependence on and an infinitely beautiful relationship with Him. He’s certainly exactly the right parent for us, isn’t He?